At the end of September, Google shut down its Stadia gaming platform, an ambitious attempt at letting people play video games without needing any actual video game hardware to play them on. Today, Google announced a new line of Chromebooks with an emphasis on cloud-based gaming.
I know these two things aren’t directly related. They never are at companies as big as Google. It’s not like the exact same product team threw Stadia in the bin, took a step over to a counter, pulled off a sheet covering a laptop and said “tadaah!”. But the optics are still hilarious to us, the people who are just looking on from the sidelines, wondering — between Inbox, and Google Reader, and countless other cool things — just who is actually in charge of the company’s overall gaming strategy.
Anyway! The new announcement today is that an upcoming line of Chromebooks (a genuinely useful Google product), made in partnership with Acer, ASUS and Lenovo (Chromebooks are made by third parties), have been designed with cloud gaming features specifically in mind.
While that doesn’t mean much in terms of performance — these are Chromebooks, and we’re talking about streaming games, not playing them locally — the three will be doing all they can within those limitations to appeal to gamers, including shipping with larger screens (15-16 inches) and RGB keyboards.
Most importantly, though, they’re all shipping with three different streaming platforms pre-installed and ready to go: Xbox Cloud Gaming, Geforce Now and…Amazon Luna. Which is a very funny and timely way of saying, OK, if you didn’t want to play our cloud gaming service maybe you’ll play someone else’s.
The Lenovo one will be $US599 ($832), ACER’s is $US650 ($902) and the ASUS one doesn’t yet have a price. You can check out some more specs here.